#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 4°C Monday 19 April 2021

7 gorgeous places in Ireland that are best viewed on a bike

From the Ring of Kerry to the Phoenix Park, here’s why you need to get on your bike.

SUMMER IS COMING and the days are stretching way out, finally.

With such long evenings, there’s never been a better time to hop on your bike. Seeing the country by bicycle takes longer, sure, but you definitely get to see things that you wouldn’t whizzing by in a car.

No matter if you only have a day to do it, a week, or the whole summer to head off into the wilderness, we’ve rounded up seven places in Ireland that you should definitely see by bike.

1. Dublin: Phoenix Park

Source: computerjoe via Flickr/CC

If you’re new to cycling or just fancy something more relaxed, this cycle route will take you around the Phoenix Park via the quieter roads. You’ll get to see the Papal Cross, the Dublin mountains and hopefully some deer if you’re lucky.

There’s one hill to contend with, and you can even hire bikes at the entrance if you don’t have your own.

Source: Cycle Irleand via Google Maps

  • Distance: 9km. Difficulty: Easy.

2. Tipperary: Glen of Aherlow

Source: Youtube/Alan Shortt

This route comprises the Glen of Aherlow – a valley with great views of the Galtee mountains. Sights to see include Athassal Abbey, which is a ruin on a riverbank and not widely known as a destination tourist spot, so you could have the whole place to yourself, as well as the 16th century Grantstown Castle which has been recently renovated.

Source: Cycling Ireland via Google Maps

  • Distance: 51km. Difficulty: Easy.

3. Mayo: the Great Western Greenway

Source: EoinGardiner via Flickr/CC

The Great Western Greenway is divided into three legs, so depending on how much time you have or how fit you are, you could do one or all three. You can start in Achill and work your way to Mulranny (13km) then Mulranny to Newport is a further 18km and if you’re feeling energetic you can finish off with the Newport to Westport trail – a mere 11 more kilometres. Along the way you’ll take in the gorgeous sites of Clew Bay and the Nephin Beg mountain range.

Source: Great western Greenway

  • Distance: 42km. Difficulty: Average.

4. Wexford: the South Wexford Route

Johnstown castle Richtone(HDR) Source: Vasiok1 via Flickr/CC

There are a number of great cycling routes in Wexford and the South Wexford route is one of the longest, taking in Johnstown Castle, Rosslare, Kilrane and the village of  Kilmore quay before heading back to Wexford town.

Johnstown Castle is known for its gardens and agricultural museum and you can also see Ireland’s only surviving windmill at Tacumshane.

Source: Scribble maps

  • Distance: 78km. Difficulty: Average.

5. Cork: Ballingeary cycle loop

ballingeary Source: Cycle Ireland

If you fancy getting away from it all this route in West Cork tends to be extremely quiet. The roads are winding and remote and the highlight of the route is a trip to the highest pub in Ireland – the Top of Coom. After that it’s a long freewheeling descent back to Ballingeary village.

Ballingeary is in a Gaelteacht area so you’ll be able to practice your cúpla focal also.

Source: Cycle Ireland

  • Distance: 39km. Difficulty: Average.

6. Ring of Kerry

Killarney National Park - Ring of Kerry, Ireland Source: Tony Webster via FLickr/CC

The Ring of Kerry is divided into seven sections so you can do the whole thing or just parts of it, depending on your time and fitness levels.

You should cycle clockwise and know that even in summer some parts of the route are quite exposed so take appropriate clothing. Other than that all you need to know is you’ll be cycling through some of the most stunning scenery in the country.

  • Distance:216km  Difficulty: Hard. 

7. Sligo to Enniskillen

PastedImage-88327 Source: Google Maps

If you really want to push yourself, then cycling Sligo to Enniskillen might be the route for you. This trip will take you two days and you’ll pass through Drumcliffe, known as Yeats’ country for his his association with the area.

You’ll also do the Gleniff Horseshoe loop through the Dartry mountains, the Lough Navar Forest Drive and see the Creevykeel court tomb as well as Enniskillen Castle. Tully Castle is also a short (worthwhile) detour on the shore of Lough Erne.

Source: BundoranTV/YouTube

  • Distance: 115km Difficulty: Hard

Are you planning on getting some sights in by bike this summer? Let us know where in the comments below.

If we’ve inspired you to hop on your bike then you should check out the An Post Cycle Series. Your first chance to take part in  the 2016 An Post Cycle Series is on the May 1st with the An Post Yeats Tour of Sligo. Head over to An Post Cycle Series now to find out more, see events, get training plans and sign up. 

Sponsored by:

An Post

Read next: